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Nov 30, 2006 07:43 PM

Solvang Area

We are going to be spending this weekend in Solvang. I would really appreciate some tips for breakfast and lunch (we are having dinner at the Hitching Post per my S.O.'s request). For lunch, something thatis conveniently close to either of the major wine trails would be great. For Sunday morning breakfast, I am looking for something cozy and comfortable where we can linger over a cup of coffee and our food (and nurse a hang-over).


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  1. Well, there is a cheese shop in solvang..I forget the road..It's called the epicurian picnic.

    I recommend picking some fabulous cheese, some good bread or crackers, a nice quince or fig spread, a bunch of grapes from the supermarket, and maybe a nice dessert (say a fine bar of chocolate)

    Then go to a winery with a good picnic area, such as Rombauer, buy a bottle of wine, get them to open it, or bring a corkscrew...and have at it. Very romantic.

    For brakfast, I dunno..I'm never there in the morning. just find a place and get some abelskier or go to Oleson's bakery.

    1. The cheeseshop is right on the main drag, 246 east. Next to Picket Fences in a complex, it faces 246. Mortensen's Bakery is next door in the complex. Wonderful selection and enthusiastic owners/staff.

      Breakfast would be fun at the old cafe in downtown Santa Ynez. An institution. Chorizo and eggs! East end of the main downtown street.

      Also good food at Los Olivos Grocery, just off 154 at the east edge of Los Olivos. Great deli and baked goods, wines, produce, picnic supplies of all kinds. They do dinners sit-down, but don't know about b'fast.

      4 Replies
      1. re: toodie jane

        There is also another Cheese shop almost directly across the street that I think is better... very, very good cheeses.

        Breakfast... all the kitchy places seem to be very similar... nothing special, yet I always make a point to stop at one... anytime I drive by.

        Its hard to go to the area without having some Santa Maria style Barbecue for lunch (imo).

        1. re: Eat_Nopal

          If the original poster will be driving back to Los Angeles on Sunday, I'd recommend they satisfy any tri-tip craving with a tri-tip sandwich from Cold Spring Tavern, off highway 154 on the way back from Santa Ynez Valley to Santa Barbara. Yum!

          1. re: DanaB

            I second that motion... good biker bar to grab some beer & listen to some blues as well.

            1. re: Eat_Nopal

              Thanks, this was an awesome tip. We stopped here on the way home and grabbed a coupe tri tip sandwiches and a few beers. the sandwich was so good, and I loved the tangy bbq sauce that they used. I wish I lived closer!

      2. Ellen's Pancake House on the Ave of the Flags in Buellton (3 miles) is good chow, especially the thin Danish? Swedish? pancakes with apples...but it gets really busy in there, so you might feel guilty for lingering.

        1. Sure hope you aren't coming to miss the crowds...On Sat- its the Solvang Xmas parade at 11am- in Los Olivos its Olde Fashioned Xmas 3-7 with all the trimmings, and Friday evening in Solvang its Light the Xmas Tree! Los Olivos should be particularly fun- and COLD!

          Breakfast- Ellens in Buellton- hearty breakfast with Danish menu, Paula Pancakes in Solvang is packed because its so good, Los Olivos Grocery has a great breakfast on a heated patio, the Longhorn in Santa Ynez has the best vibe- anyone who has been there- long time owner Kelly Minoit just passed. The River View at the Alisal might be a nice lunch or breakfast choice- overlooking the golf course and the river. The Mandarin Touch in Solvang- serves American Breakfast and some great hair of the dog.

          Lunch- I'd picnic- but only if prepared for cooler weather- it is maybe 60* here at 3pm. Los Olivos Grocery- excellent choices- El Rancho Market excellent choices- Panino in Los Olivos- great sandwiches! For a sit down- Los Olivos Cafe, Patricks in LO, Wine Cask in LO, Grappolo in SY has a great lunch menu- and a nice sunny patio.

          Have fun at the Hitching Post- I prefer the Red Barn- more of a local vibe, great steaks and good people. Ballard Inn is the best the Valley has to offer, with Matteis Tavern coming very close behind.

          enjoy your trip- and all the celebrations!! It is open house for alot of Wineries this weekend- most serving food and more wines than normal.

          4 Replies
          1. re: JalamaMama

            Very helpful. Particularly the part about it being an open house weekend!

            1. re: JalamaMama

              I agree with JalamaMama - The Ballard Inn is the best restaurant in the area for dinner and Mattei's Tavern is the second best. For breakfast Paula's Pancake House in Solvang has no equal and is by far the most crowded of any restaurant in the area.

              1. re: jwobkk

                I'll put my money on any IHOP beating out Paula's Pancakes anyday, especially for Swedish pancakes at IHOP - too bad there are none in the Solvang area, but there are several good ones from Carpinteria to Goleta. This is one international specialty IHOP gets just right.

                1. re: glbtrtr

                  IHOP beating Paula's?? Are you high?

              1. re: JalamaMama

                Well, the first day we arrived in the middle of the parade and since we were starving we just went to Paula's pancake house for lunch. I was a little disapointed and thought everything was a little bland. After we hit the wine trails we wanted a small bite before we went to the Hitching Post II so I walked over to the Pizza Tower on Alisal and grabbed a personal sausage pizza for my gf and I. We both thought it was one of the better thin crust pizzas we had had in a long time. Maybe we were just starving, but I recall a perfectly crisp crust without being crackerlike and a balanced amount of cheese, sauce and meat. I was feining for it again the next morning.

                At the Hitching post we started with the grilled artichoke appetizer and could not stop raving about it. I loved the smokey grilled artichoke and I completely overooked the "healthy" amount of butter b/c it was just so good. For mains, we both had the filet with fries and I really enjoyed the smokey flavor the grilling imparted on the meat. The filet itself had one fault in that a small portion of it was gristle but the remainder was very tender and cooked to a perfect medium rare. Surprisingly, the fries were just as good as the filet and I am kicking myself for not buying some of that seasoning to go (meaning to check out the website to see if they mail order). Service was good but not outstanding. I will definately be back on my next trip in January.

                For the next day's lunch we popped into the grocery store on the 246 in Solvang and grabbed a few chicken "tacos" from the deli counter. What was served were three giant burritos that the lady claimed were soft tacos. I am sure she made a mistake b/c no way on earth those monsters were tacos. Regardless, they were very good, with a good amount of chicken, rice, beans and cheese.

                On the way home, we stop at the aforementioned Cold Spring Tavern and really enjoyed the setting, atmosphere and the mouthwatern bbq.

                Thanks again for the recs!

                1. re: MEalcentric

                  Visited Solvang the 2007 Memorial Day weekend. Dinner at AJ Spurs was rated by the crew as "Gut Busting" , "Obscene" and "Overwhelming". Whatever, the portions were large and the bbq'ed items were tasty. The atmosphere equaled the food. If I were to do it again, I would eat off the bar menu. The sweatbreads were the sleeper on the menu.

                  If you are to have breakfast, try Olson's Bakery. Olson's actually has good stuff. Try a Kringle or have a traditional Danish Breakfast of bread, cheese and cold cuts.

                  Previous posts recommend getting some bread, cheese & fruit and camping out at on winery's lawn. If you do not do this for a few hours you are missing a great time. Get a Sprite for the non-drinkers in your party and if you have too much, lay around for a while before getting behind the wheel.

                  1. re: Taste Bud

                    Did you see the waitress that Jack pulled from there?